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Patients Life stories arthritis Alison

Spotlight on Alison (UK)

  • Born in 1970
  • Living with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Speaks English
  • Married with one teenage daughter
  • Works part-time as a rheumatology nurse
  • Enjoys travelling and spending time with her daughter

Alison had a perfectly normal and happy childhood. She was close to her family and enjoyed playing on a local netball team and socialising with her friends without any limitations.

At the age of 18, she was pleased with the direction of her life. She was training to become a nurse, which had always been her dream. But her dream was threatened when she experienced pain in the balls of her feet that occurred in the morning when she’d walk to hospital for her morning shift.

Over time, the pain and stiffness spread to her ankles, hands, wrists, and then to her knees and shoulders. She consulted with her doctor several times, but the tests he ordered came back normal. After a while, he suggested she was a neurotic teenager who was unhappy with her career choice. Fortunately, Alison trusted her instincts and consulted with another doctor who took her concerns seriously and referred her to a rheumatologist who diagnosed her with RA. Although Alison was relieved to receive a proper diagnosis, she was concerned for her future.

There were only limited treatment options available, and Alison tried one after the other. But her symptoms, which also included acute bouts of fatigue, worsened.

Eventually, she felt as if she’d fallen into a dark hole. Fearing she’d become a burden to her fiancé, Alison released him from their engagement. But her fiancé, whom she would eventually marry, and her family rallied her on with even more love and support.

Steadfast, Alison resolved not to give up on her health, and she managed to pursue her nursing degree. She also continued partnering with her rheumatologist who eventually found a treatment plan that worked for her. Married now for nearly 20 years, Alison enjoys spending time with her husband and their teenage daughter; she’s also working part-time as a rheumatology nurse.

Today, Alison shares her experience to help spread hope, inspiration, and awareness in the RA community.

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It is my hope that by spreading awareness about RA, more and more people will educate themselves and begin treatment without delay.